Trump Announces New Nursing Home Relief and Mandates

On July 22, President Trump announced additional relief funding for nursing homes and new mandates related to COVID-19.

In addition to the $4.9 billion of Provider Relief funding allocated to nursing homes, President Trump announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will allocate an additional $5 billion of unspent Provider Relief Funds to CMS-certified nursing homes.  Similar to previous provider relief funding, nursing homes will be able to utilize the funding to support COVID-19 expenses. 

Unlike the past provider relief distributions, nursing homes will only be eligible for the additional funds if they complete a new online, on-demand Nursing Home COVID-19 Training focused on infection control and best practices.  The training is not yet available, but CMS has stated that it includes 23 educational modules and a scenario-based learning module.  Upon completion, nursing homes will receive a certificate, an electronic recognition badge to post on their website and be eligible for the additional wave of nursing home provider relief funds.  It remains unclear how many people or who on staff must take the training to comply with the requirement.  There also has been no information about how long the training will take to complete. 

In addition, the President announced that CMS will require, rather than recommend, nursing homes in states with greater than a 5 percent positivity rate to test nursing home staff weekly.   In order to implement this requirement, CMS will have to initiate formal rulemaking similar to the NHSN reporting requirement for LTC.  Thus, weekly staff testing is not yet required but will be coming.  The CMS press release states that the new testing requirement builds upon the plan to distribute rapid point-of-care diagnostic testing devices to nursing homes and the additional provider relief funding to help support expenses like testing. 

The Governor’s Office has scheduled a meeting with LAI and other stakeholders next week to discuss these planned requirements.